I finally bought some good monitors (Yamaha MSP5) and I'm getting comfortable using them, but I have a question that might sound silly to you pros.
Is there a song that the group would recommend as a callibration mix? My first thought was to listen to Steely Dan or maybe anything with Alan Parson's name on it, but since these are fully mastered, i wasn't sure if it is the right approach.
Basically, I would like to play a mix that I can use to adjust the trim switches so I can then emulate a known great mix.
Does this make sense or am I over complicating things?
This thread is going to be loaded with subjective responses for the obvious reasons: everyone's going to have their own room and setup they are used to, and different music types they like.
I don't know of any good reference mix other than stuff I've heard done in studio where I know exactly how it sounded to the engineer at the time.
I can play those on my system, but the truth is even then, my ears are adjusted to my room and will adapt for that.
The best answer is find something you know really well, and have listened to a lot on different speakers and in different environments, and use that. So a tune you've listened to everyday you commuted in the car, on the subway, listened to on phones at work, over your stereo at home, etc.
Now, you _can_ go and by test gear and frequency mixes designed to help profile and calibrate your room - the IK Arc product does that and then provides a plugin mechanism to compensate for your room.
If you want a recommendation, try Dark Side Of The Moon. That may be one of the best mixed albums ever.
Actually I have a folder called "Calibration" on the desktop of my DAW. This folder contains a variety of commercial tracks which I know well and that I think of as good mixes. I've normalised them all to 100% peak level for reference purposes. After I've completed a mix, I save it as a .wav file and put it aside for a day or so.
Then I listen to a few of my calibration tracks of a similar genre on a media player before playing my own mix. Having calibrated my ears against these standard tracks, any deficiencies in the mix usually stand out like a sore thumb!
These commercial tracks have gone through a mastering process, but as I regard mastering as part of a single mix/master process, not a subsequent stage, I'm happy to compare my tracks directly with them.
If nothing else this can pick up things like poor tonal balance and the need for more (usually more, not less) compression to bring up the perceived loudness of a weak track. Although I'm not a fan of squashing the dynamic range as flat as a pancake, it's useful to know how one's output compares with other people's.